Sir Colin "Pinetree" Meads has responded to Mark Reason's pre-RWC wind-up which we blogged about yesterday. Dom-Post sports editor Jonathan Millmow reports:
Claims on the eve of the World Cup that the All Blacks are blatant cheats have gone down like a cup of cold soup with rugby icon Colin Meads.
The accusations were made in Wednesday's Dominion Post by English-born sports columnist Mark Reason, who, among other things, claimed half the All Blacks' tries in the Tri-Nations were secured through illegal means off the ball.
"Pinetree" Meads wasn't the only one fuming, with near record numbers using the Stuff website to climb into Reason.
Reason lives in New Zealand but Meads laughed at the suggestion he might pay him a visit.
"It was disappointing. He is getting like his father [John Reason], who was reporting in my day or just after," Meads said.
"It's very disappointing and now he is living in New Zealand he wants to be very careful."
Meads said it was laughable to suggest the All Blacks set out to cheat and he had seen no evidence of the examples Reason made.
As we opined yesterday, the All Blacks are not lilywhite, and play the game to the limit of the law and beyond if the referee allows them. So does almost every team that they come up against.
And Sir Tree was as good at gamesmanship as anyone. In a test career which lasted from 1957 to 1971, he was involved in a fair share of incidents which were commonplace back in the day, but would be regarded more severely in the sanitised game which rugby has become. He was also regarded as one of the best referees of all time, even though he never refereed a match! And Sir Tree was, of course, the last All Black to be sent off in a test match when Kevin Kelleher from Ireland gave him his marching orders in a test match versus Scotland in 1967.
The stories about Sir Colin Meads are many, but this one is our favourite. The All Blacks were playing a regional team in Scotland, and in the home team's dressing room after the match, the local players were exchanging match stories. Meads as ever had made a nuisance of himselves, and one of the local players got the attention of his mates when he declared "Well, I told Colin Meads to f*ck off from our side of the lineout" His team-mates were incredulous; "You told Colin Meads to f*ck off, and ye're still standin'?" asked one. The local player replied "Aye; but I didnae say it very loud!"
Sir Colin Meads knows exactly what goes on in the heat of battle on the rugby field. We'll take his word over Mark Reason's any day.